Exciting Discoveries Unearthed at Samangala Archaeological Site

Under the direction of the Department of Archaeology of Sri Lanka, significant discoveries have emerged from the ancient ruins of the Samangala Buddhist Monastery, located within the Uhana Divisional Secretariat in the Ampara District. The ongoing excavation, which commenced in 2023, has unveiled remarkable insights into the early historic phase of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage. The site, which is renowned for its cave monastery complex featuring Early Brahmi inscriptions on the drip ledge of a cave, has long been believed to contain a stupa at the base of the mountain.

However, recent findings have surpassed expectations, revealing a wealth of archaeological facts. Among the most notable discoveries is a mound identified within the compound, yielding remnants of black and red earthenware dating back to the early historic phase (250 BC - 300 AD). These archaeological artefacts provide compelling evidence of the ancient origins and its significance as a hub of Buddhist monastic activity.

Further excavation efforts have unearthed a series of clay structures, shedding light on the sophisticated architectural prowess of ancient Sri Lankan civilizations. One such structure, a quadrangular clay-lined cist, was uncovered beneath the brick-lined base of a circular structure erected upon a square platform. This architectural construction offers tantalizing clues to the rituals and practices of the monastery's inhabitants.

Adjacent to the circular brick structure, another intriguing find has emerged: a square brick chamber adorned with an open orifice intricately constructed by cutting through the underlying gravel layer. Within this chamber, sand fills the interior, hinting at its ceremonial or utilitarian function within the monastery complex.

Under the guidance of the Excavation Division of the Department of Archeology of Sri Lanka and Ampara/ Batticaloa Assistant Director Under the guidance of Mr. D.S.A. Munasinghe, alongside the invaluable contributions of Project officer Mr.S.A. Prasanna and Excavation Museum Assistant Mr. Tiron Ananda, the excavation team has meticulously documented each discovery, enriching our understanding of Sri Lanka's ancient past.

Furthermore, the expertise of Dr. Ranjith Bandara Dissanayake, a Senior Lecturer at the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology, University of Kelaniya, has been instrumental in contextualizing these findings within the broader historical narrative.

Amidst this journey of exploration and discovery, the support of individuals such as Lord Sugatharathana Thero of Wellampitiya and the Kappiya Committee of the historical Samangala Aranya Senasana has been invaluable, ensuring the success of these endeavours.

As the excavation continues to unravel the mysteries of Samangala's past, anticipation grows for the revelations that lie ahead. With each new discovery, the rich tapestry of Sri Lanka's cultural heritage is further illuminated, offering a glimpse into the lives and legacies of those who walked these hallowed grounds millennia ago.

Department of Archaeology
Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha,
Colombo - 07, Sri Lanka.

Phone : +94 11 2692840, +94 11 2692841
Fax : +94 11 2696250
Email : info@archaeology.gov.lk
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